tv QA Doug Brinkley CSPAN April 7, 2019 11:00pm-12:02am EDT
q&a is next, historian douglas brinkley talks about his book "american moonshot." after that prime minister's , questions from the british house of commons. zealand's parliament debates a ban on semi automatic weapons. ♪ brian: doug brinkley, your new book "american moonshot." what's it about? doug: it is about how john f. kennedy put all these political chips on the idea about going to the moon by the end of the 1960's. the big moment was made 25th, 1961. he gave an afternoon speech to joint session of congress. at that time he pledged that the
, united states would go to the moon by the end of the decade and a great bipartisan effort. the word moonshot enters our culture in earnest. it costs about $25 billion to go to the moon. that would be $185 billion today. we did it to beat the russians. jack kennedy always said americans had to be first. that the new frontier was one of outer space. he would call it the new ocean. he became an incredible salesman as president. i trace early jack kennedy's evolution on aviation, and as it matures into the space age, and also the birth of rockets and our cold war rivalry with the soviet union. it is a global story about american supremacy in the aerospace field. brian: i want you to look at a still photograph. if you walk into the aerospace museum, you will see this
display. you have same as on top below oboee spirit of st. louis nash above the lunar module. when you look at that, what do you think? doug: i think, give the curator of the museum a big raise, because that is a smart way to do that. without charles lindbergh and a transatlantic flight, which triggered this wave of aviation mania into the 1930's, there would have been no apollo 11. we had langley, virginia that started dealing with all sorts of new technologies. when tunnels, military aviation testing. all of the astronauts were pilots. they are heroes to a man. all of the mercury astronauts that went up during john f. kennedy's presidency talked about wittenberg being a hero. neil armstrong had a piece of
kitty hawk in 1903. famous north carolina flight. the point being that aviation and space exploration our partners. the 20th century is the great century of flight. brian: i want to show you some video. we have seen it many times. but it does create a sensation. i want you to react after you see the early part of it. it is a saturn five, apollo six. let's watch it and then we will get your reaction. [video clip] >> ignition sequence start. 5, 4, we have ignition. all engines are good. we have lift off. we have lift off. [cheering] [engine roaring]
[end of video clip] brian: what do you think when you see that? doug: just how large it is, it does not do it justice on film. it is gargantuan. it is that large. also it is the culmination of really, since world war ii, perfecting a moon rocket. the nazi rocketeer that i write about in my book. during world war ii was the first to create the be to rocket. those rockets rained on london and killed people. it was a war weapon. by the time we get to saturn class, he was in el paso at fort bliss in 1950.
he moved to work with the u.s. army in huntsville, alabama. this is one of the biggest and most important engineering marvels of mankind. people can go look at the pyramid's. they can go look at the wall in china. when you look at the saturn rockets out of huntsville, alabama, there has been nothing like it. a power that mankind was able to put together in the thrust of a rocket that large. the payload capacity there is off the charts. brian: at the end of the book, a couple of times you write about werner von braun. i want your reaction as to why you did this. it is my personal opinion, based on all that i have read, werner
von braun was culpable for war crimes associated with the german third reich using slave labor to build his v2's during world war ii. doug: he was a nazi. he was part of the ss. in order to build his rockets -- germany had the rockets. we put money in the united states and world war ii. in the manhattan project, into building atomic weapons. the special german project of rocketry was extraordinary, but to build them at the speed that hitler wanted, and he was pumped up on amphetamine, they found a way to build the v-2 rocket. we are talking about jews, slovs, jehovah witnesses in the most inhumane capacity. i talk about a sub camp of some of the larger camps. von braun got away with a lot. he was not charged with war crimes because the united states wanted his genius. something called operation paperclip. von braun surrendered, most of the best german rocket scientists were grabbed by the
u.s. army under operation paperclip and relocated to the united states. i want the young people to understand, the 50th anniversary of going to the moon. if you are going to the moon, rocketry, aerospace, von braun is a thumbs up. he is essential. he is a genius, but we also have to look at the morality of the way that some of these early rockets were built when he was on team adolf hitler. i wanted to make it clear in the book because i give him a credit for getting us to the moon. we cannot have science run amok in the way that von braun and others were doing it in the
third reich. brian: i have some video of werner von braun in 1955. it is a disney video. let's see what he looked like then and what he was talking about. [video clip] >> the voyage around the moon must be made into phases. a rocket ship taking off from the earth's surface. we use all the fluid it can carry just to a speed enough to balance gravity. it will then keep circling the earth and an orbit outside of the atmosphere. this is the first phase. however, if we can refuel the ship and this orbit with fuel brought up by cargo rocket ships, it can set out on the second phase, the trip around the moon and back. [end of video clip] brian: i want to drop back in your book and read again what you said earlier after that last comment. nasa was lucky to have a rocket engineers talent to work on apollo. he should not be remembered as
an american hero. his direct role in the nazi concentration camp labor programs, where thousands perished under inhumane conditions, makes him a pariah figure of sorts. doug: we are at a time where there is holocaust deniers and anti-semitism on the rise. you don't want to say that he is a nazi and then he turned to our team. he was in the sf. he would claim that he had no choice, but many rocketeer's left germany, or at least if did. he stayed there and worked for germany to annihilate the world. his goal would have been what hitler's was pure he wanted to figure out a way to destroy new york, philadelphia, boston. the v-2's killed civilians. they would fire off a v-2 right
into civilian london and kill people. the argument is that, didn't the united states do that with bombers? are we culpable for building the atomic bomb against hiroshima and nagasaki. we were fighting for democracy and he was fighting for totalitarianism. go to the holocaust museum. we cannot forget. i wanted to make clear in the book that you are picking up some of my criticisms, but i am talking about how he was the essential man to get us to the moon but we want to put him into a proper historical perspective and not glorify him. brian: how was he essential to the moonshot? doug: in my mind he was the key. after world war ii when he came here, he was put at fort bliss in el paso. we did not use missiles in the korean war. it was a heyday of incredible
aviators and the korean war, extraordinary pilots. our missile program was falling behind. suddenly, we were surprised by the soviet union. from 1945 to 1949, united states is the only country with a nuclear monopoly. by 1945 the soviet union gets nuclear weapons. by sputnik in 1957, they are able to put a satellite into space before us. this period of 1945 to 1950 -- 1957, we were lagging behind a missile technology. it was not prioritized. once von braun gets to huntsville, he starts saying, let me do it. i know how. i can beat russia with a satellite. right did not listen to von braun much. you would think you would have because he was the army
rocketeer. he went with vanguard, which is maybe. if you look at old clips of the navy launches, there were crumbling on their pads. it was by default that von braun and his ex nazi rocketeer's out of huntsville were given a green light. it was jack kennedy who believed in werner von braun. they first met in 1953 when henry luce of "time magazine" had written the introduction to jack kennedy's -- so he picked young senator jack kennedy who won the senate in 1952. werner von braun, who was in colliers magazine, and being embraced by people like walt disney, asked the two judges for time and man of the year. they got to hang out together, kennedy and warner von braun. both were handsome, both debonair, both had an eye for fashion and women. they were kind of a tag team of sorts. they got along well. kennedy never held his nazism against him.
our generation had to fight the war. for kennedy and von braun, and mauer, that is who they pick. the west german chancellor was who they picked. churchill, krustoff. jack candy and warner von braun saw them as 20th-century guys. there were born a few years from each other, they had to serve in the war. they were the new generation. jack kennedy never thought anything negative about von braun for serving in germany. eisenhower did. he had to see the camps of the jews and the holocaust slaughtered. he said film it so people would
not become deniers of what the germans did. eisenhower never liked von braun. jack kennedy did. i write about kennedy's visits to huntsville and cape canaveral. if he saw warner von braun he would say, fly with me. they became that tight. brian: how did werner von braun and the other germans get to the united states? doug: 1945, in the spring of 1945 the third reich was crumbling. by the time adolf hitler committed suicide, the gig was up. the number one most precious thing that nazi germany had was werner von braun and the german rocket science. if you could take that technology, you could be the world's superpower. warner von braun fought for a
minute and said, i will not go to russia, who wants to live in russia? it is a horrible lifestyle. britain is broke. all of my v-2 bombs have been raining on them. he sent his younger brother. he took all of the blueprints, all of his war materials, forged a document, he would have to read the book, but he moved von braun from the rocket base and hid all of this in a mine shaft. all of his essential blueprints closed the mine craft, went into the alps, and said find americans. suddenly a guy from wisconsin said, my brother is the creator of the v-2. the u.s. soldiers say, give me a break.
they interrogated him and found out that there they are. we win and got them. von braun was worried about not being charged with war crimes. he wanted to work for the united states army. we brought him over. some of these parts went to annapolis, some came to the port of new orleans. i document that. in the end they went to be tested on the white sands in new mexico. you can visit it there today. braswell area. roswell, new mexico is where our early rocketeer moved -- basically he was a menace in massachusetts so he moved out there to the clear blue new mexican skies. von braun was under house arrest. wherever he went he was being watched. they let him marry a young woman from germany and bring her to america. he would say, i'm a prisoner of
peace. he was under surveillance. we let him rebuild is v-2's and retest them in new mexico. it became clear that we had the albert einstein of rocketry. what was the options if we did not bring them over? if we let the russians get them -- i don't like russia. in my career, i am not somebody who gets soft and fuzzy about the soviet union as i have read too much about stalin, and i don't like totalitarianism governments. we did the right thing in relocating them. they all had asterisks by their names for having served in the third reich. brian: you are the professor at rice university. in 1962 at rice university, president john f. kennedy made a speech and here is an excerpt from it. [video clip] >> the eyes of the world now looking to space.
to the moon and to the planets beyond. and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom, and peace. we of our -- about that we shall not see things filled with weapons of mass to structure instruments of knowledge and understanding. yet the vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we, in this nation are first, and therefore we intend to be first. [end of video clip] brian: i got the impression in your book that he was for the idea of going to the moon, and against it, and for it, and money got into it. he did not have many years to live after that speech. doug: that is a great speech. that was september 12, 1962, that is kennedy's best speech. one of the best presidential speeches ever. the only speech were a president frames science and exploration
in a way that is memorable. nasa officials wrote some of the lines. only kennedy could deliver a speech like that, with great conviction. rice was in houston, texas. that is where a lot of the pork was going. i write that nasa was created in 1958 out of the reaction to sputnik. lyndon johnson is the big engineer of getting nasa created out of the senate. glenn eisenhower goes along with it, but lyndon has his fingers in a pie. houston becomes a bit place to get a lot of the billions of dollars that gets pumped into the economy. the space center is named after lyndon johnson in houston. albert thomas, the congressman from houston, was part of the brown and root crowd that built
dams for fdr. now they started building moon ports. he was powerful because he was head of congressional space appropriation. then senator robert kerr from oklahoma was the power of lyndon. kerr also wanted some of the dollars coming into oklahoma. after jack kennedy -- there are two big speeches of kennedy and they often get confused. march 25, 1961, he tells congress we are going to the moon. the next day in tulsa, oklahoma, all of the big companies and space enthusiasts, engineers, and scientists meet in tulsa. the next big kennedy speeches in 1962. september 12 he goes on a space tour to remind people of what he
has done with nasa, which was considerable. in that year of 1962, john glenn on february 20 went into space for nearly five hours. it became the biggest -- so kennedy and rice is going into the belly of the beast. with the space center is in houston used to be property of rice. rice became the first university doing space science. kennedy filled up the football stadium. 10,000 boy scouts were in that audience. we had 30,000 to 40,000 people listening to that speech. everybody else was sweating and kennedy does not sweat. why jack kennedy does not sweat, i don't know.
everybody was soaked, but he was always kind of cool. after that rice speech he went to the manned space center was on telegraph road in houston. telephone road in houston and met with the astronauts and went into a mockup of the lunar module. then he goes to st. louis to mcdonald aircraft and gives a big speech, basically jobs. today, president trump talks about jobs two ohio. going to the moon brought jobs to st. louis, new orleans, florida, houston, san antonio, and pasadena. the genius of jack kennedy was he never cared for harry truman. eisenhower was republican and was weak on space and the missile gap. he thought fdr's new deal was
too big. but what fdr did well was beyond social security. fdr built the tba gran coulee dam. eisenhower had that highway system. kennedy is thinking what is my administration's big public work thing. he picked the right number technology. the computer chip, we think of it today, gets developed in the late 1950's. modern aviation starts kicking in. when jack kennedy runs in 1960, there are no computer science classes at universities. by the time he is killed in dallas, there are computer science classes everywhere. air travel is replacing automobile and train travel. people are flying more and more. hub airports are being developed across the country. it was the jet age and the space age and kennedy grabbed onto it and made it the cornerstone of the new frontier. brian: up until his death about
whether or not they should go to the moon? doug: to a degree. this is expensive and he is putting everything on it. the new frontier is suddenly going to the moon. by the end of the decade i won't be president when we get to the moon. in 1961 in 1962 the budgets flowed. james webb is a genius technocrat that is able to keep the money going. the thing that kennedy does well that the barry goldwater group wanted -- eisenhower called going to the moon a stunt. jack kennedy's kooky race. when joe kennedy found out about the moon speech, he called the white house -- i think evelyn lincoln got the phone and said, tell jackie is going to blow the whole budget on one of his crazy schemes. god dammit, i knew jack would do something like this. his own father thought it was a reckless idea. occasionally he is questioning is this wise, is the smart? after the cuban missile crisis, shouldn't we be collaborating with russia, should we not be? in the end of a waiver, days
before his death, two days before his death he was in san antonio at brooks air force base with astronaut gordon cooper at his side, talking about all the medical marvels coming out of nasa. cat scans, m.r.i.'s comment kidney dialysis machines, etc., space medicine as a new field. he goes to houston and is there without were thomas. it is a funny moment because he says to thomas, we will put the biggest payroll -- then he says, i mean payraid. everybody laughed because he poured so much money into houston and san antonio hoping to hold texas in 1964. remember, this is still pre-civil rights act. kennedy needs to win the south. it is still a democratic south. most of these democratic southern senators are not real
keen on james meredith, that old myth. kennedy's justice department on civil rights as well. lyndon is telling these democratic southerners we will get you 150 million into biloxi. don't worry about the civil rights. there was a lot of quid pro quo trading going on with making the southern zone a key beneficiary of going to the moon. but then kennedy, on his way to dallas, when he was in the convertible, and gordon cooper was supposed to be his space hero in the car with him. gordon cooper was one of the mercury astronauts. the most recent to have gone up and was a popular hero. kennedy knew he was popular in san antonio, houston, a knot in -- but not in dallas. he wanted a space hero by his side. they called gordon cooper away from being with kennedy. he had with him his speech for
the -- the space speech about how successful the program is. kennedy was comfortable with running for reelection in 1964 with mercury, gemini, apollo and the moonshot being part of his reelection strategy. brian: folks that may not have been alive in those days, project mercury, 1958 to 1963? doug: project mercury was one astronaut. all of the mercury missions are one. it starts with alan shepard in spring of 1861. it goes until gus grissom. i write about all of the mercury astronauts. all of the seven mercury astronauts.
six of them got to go on mercury emissions. up and down. of course, with glenn, you are starting to do orbits of the earth, but it is still solo astronaut. brian: project gemini, 1962 to 1966. doug: jack kennedy never live to see gemini astronaut go into space. that happened during lyndon johnson's watch. that was to put two astronauts into space. you are partnered up. you try to do rendezvous docking exercises, spacewalking, and the like. it was successful. both mercury and gemini were very successful. brian: you list apollo as being 1960 to 1972. doug: apollo is created. the problem we have with apollo is apollo one in which it blows up in 1967 at cape canaveral and three of our astronauts perished. i knew we would have a space accident, but who thought it would happen on a launch pad. we always that we could bring them back from outer space.
that starts to make people wonder about the funding. one of the things in my book to understand all of these is money. surprise, surprise. the money factor is who getting that appropriation? navy, air force our army. the space dollars are really intense. a lot of this becomes who is getting all of the money? when kennedy was alive he believed very strongly on putting money for apollo into von braun's saturn program. brian: how old are you in july
of 1969. doug: that is a good christian. i have had to reflect on that. i would have been 8, 9 years old. i would have been nine shortly thereafter. i was a little boy growing up in ohio near toledo. perrysburg is not very far, it's a country drive to where neil armstrong is from. i remember vividly watching every moment. i slept on a foci and built a fortress so i could watch all of this and try not to sleep for the big moment when neil armstrong sets foot on the moon. he had become my all seasons hero. i was one of those kids collecting plates of all the apollo missions, bobble heads, trading cards of astronauts. i had these g.i. joe's of space. i made lunar camps. i am not a child of world war ii of the great depression. when you are nine years old you are very impressionable. the fact that neil armstrong is down the road from me. my parents took me to wapakaneta
before you walked on the moon. i went to go see the moonrock anxiously. i was smitten and taken in by seeing that. brian: i have a list. they deserve being heard. anybody my age will remember these names. these were the 12 men that walked on the moon. neil armstrong, buzz aldrin, p conrad, alan bean, alan shepard, edgar mitchell, john young, charles duke, jack schmidt, last man to walk on the moon james stern in, 1972. do you know any of those people? doug: i do. for neil armstrong i got to do
the official oral history of his past. i did the official oral history with stephen ambrose. brian: we will run a clip of that. tell us when you did it. doug: that was in 2001. i had written armstrong in the 1990's. i had finished my doctorate at georgetown and i had written a book on -- and i got the po box for neil armstrong near cincinnati, ohio. i sent him my book signed. i got a little note back from his personal assistant. it said, he will read one of the two books that you sent. i remember feeling like, i should not have sent two. they said they will keep me in mind. brian: how long did you talk to him? doug: we spent a whole day, like six hours talking at the johnson space center. the 9/11 tragedy happened.
the blast where i was when the 9/11 happened, i was in new orleans watching the crumbling of the world trade center in new york city and said, there goes my neil armstrong interview. i was supposed to interview him a few days later and all aviation was shut down. i was in new orleans so i knew i could drive to houston, but they were closing airports. i found out from nasa that he does not cancel things, neil armstrong and that he flies his own plane. he flew his own private plane by himself and landed at johnson manned space center. he walked in, he signed my book, which the nasa people do not like. he put a smiley face and it is a great possession. the place that i made some progress in the q&a was on the korean war, which armstrong in korea, there are stories to himself about his near-death on combat missions. but when it came to talk to neil
armstrong about the moon, i was too much of a humanity's guide -- guy because at one point i was trying to open him up. he is an engineer from purdue. which you identify with. what a great school. so many of our astronauts went to purdue. he is an engineer. he was in engineer mode. i said, mr. armstrong, don't you go up and look at the luminous moon and think, my god, i will be stepping there? no. brian: let's listen to you ask a question. the only audio, there was no video. this is back in 2001. [audio clip] >> in retrospect it might've. the late -- who had now so relations with the outside world in many ways, it was absolutely adamant that they never put
words in the mouth of their people, not just astronauts, but anybody. just let people speak for themselves. [end of audio clip] brian: julian scheer, how important was his pr, relationships with the networks, and the whole story of nasa? doug: unbelievably large. i am am probably an enthusiast of space because of them. nasa, as a government bureaucracy and agency, what a remarkable public relations job they do. nasa is in my backyard, but i go around college campuses and kids
still where the nasa logo. they make let nasa lunchboxes. they promoted products like velcro or tang. they may deal with life magazine to profile the likes of the astronauts. nasa, i think more government agencies need to let taxpayers know what they are doing with their dollars. why doesn't the epa or the commerce department learn how to do public relations? we all knew it nasa was doing. nasa explained it to us. we saw photos, we were told, they worked it in a way to make people feel good that their tax dollars are going to nasa. to give jack kennedy a lot of credit, he came up with a great line of saying, it is expensive to go to the moon, it will cost you probably $.40 a week. people excepted that because he was being blunt. today it's like, it's not really your money.
i think the combination of kennedy and james webb were able to capture the imagination. we did this in the 1960's. it is the early jack kennedy 1960's. but even the civil rights, vietnam protests, counterculture, space was able to hang in there. it lasted 50 years of going to the moon. i think the moon shot will be seen as america's great achievement. brian: i want to read a footnote that you wrote in the back of your book for a couple of reasons. or one comment to ask you about the different things that came from the space efforts, but also your effort. this is the term space madison,
since 1976 nasa has annually published spinoff. a handsome publication featuring technological innovation from space research. i read all copies to glean the technologies that were most viable. there is a profusion of mythology regarding the medical advances nasa did or did not innovate. where do you find spinoff, and tell us about the myth? doug: spinoff is tremendous because it is telling you where your tax dollars are going. it was not just going to the moon, it is product development. the danger of dealing with nasa and what we got out of paying that 25 billion is that some people will say, gps was created by nasa. it was enhanced by nasa, big-time. brian: who said they created it?
doug: that is people out there. if you pull up, you will see fake things that nasa created. i mentioned the velcro. velcro was a guy in switzerland and who had his dog on alpine heights -- this was in the 1940's. but nasa used the product, they pioneered in it. nasa gps is gigantic with nasa. you deal with anti-icing devising. brian: on planes? doug: yes. in figuring out all sorts of pressurized cabins. refrigeration. and medical advances. they have learned to tested. -- to test it. they are part of an industrial academic innovation technology world. spinoff can tell you every one of the products with great exaction. brian: where do you find spinoff? doug: libraries. they are regularly updated, they are letting people know that it is a steel.
brian: what volume was it for you to have to read? doug: they are like newspaper -- brian: how many of them? doug: tons. they are lined up like this. pretty thick, about 100 pages. brian: where did you find them? doug: rice university. brian: this is off the subject, it is about politics. i want to ask you about it before we lose time. the most unlikely spoiler appeared before the subcommittee, john glenn, who echoed webs contention that funding women in space drained money needed for the moon shot. it was generally a waste of tax dollars. i think this gets back to the way our social order has organized, it is fact that men
go off and fight the wars and fly the airplane can come back and help design and build and test them. the fact that women are not in the field is a fact of our social order. where did you find that? doug: that is my ohio guy. i write about women in my book in the nasa world, but mimi how they were frozen out. there was a group of female astronauts known as the mercury 13. they got dr. lovelace out in new mexico who is only tangentially connected in asset. that gets miswritten sometimes. he said women would be better as astronauts because they consume less oxygen, the pool would be great. he had all these theories and he started doing medical testing, extreme medical testing, like two foot rubber hose down your throat, endurance tests on bikes. he came up with a group of 13 camera ready astronauts, women.
brian: john glenn ran for president. doug: this was early glenn. there was movement to get women astronauts. it is just part of what the early 1960's were like. betty verdana book was just coming out, rachel carson's silent spring in the women's movement was just getting going. on these out shots that we talked about are all white men. i'll write later about sally ride and how women in space are a big deal, but we are still in a highly chauvinistic, misogynistic era when we are dealing with early nasa. women were cut out. the soviet union put a woman into space before we did.
brian: you mentioned several times jim webb. i have audio of him talking to john kennedy. who was the and what role did he play in all this? doug: in the end, -- what is interesting is astronauts. webb is the story. he worked for harry truman and the state department and was a treasury budget guy in the truman years who became seen as an extraordinary capitol hill lobbyist. he then worked for mcgee kerr oil out in oklahoma. he gets back to oklahoma with kerr. he was an extraordinary technocrat. he was the one kennedy picked on the recommendation of kerr/johnson to head nasa. a lot of people did not know if nasa would be funded heavily by kennedy. jerome wisner of m.i.t. wrote a report saying, don't do man space. don't put men up there.
they blow up, you got a dead astronaut floating around in space on your watch. we can use monkeys or robots. webb came in and backed manned space. there would be no alan shepard or john glenn if it was not for webb's persistent. he was southern, he got along with democrats and republicans. he was a liberal and a conservative somehow. he knew how to count the votes on capitol hill and keep the money flowing. there used to be a comedy saying, no box, no bucks rogers. going to the moon costs a lot of money and webb constantly got the appropriations. he ran it squeaky clean shot. we got a lot of accomplishments from running a government agency. brian: i want to run this audio.
there is script on the scene so you can see what they are saying. he is a bit feisty. let's watch this and you can follow up. [video clip] >> they are real unknown -- this is one kind of phone ability i -- vulnerability i would like to afford. >> that's the information. >> [indiscernible] that is why we are doing it. we have to take the view, this is the key program. we have to take the program. a lot of things to find out about. >> [indiscernible] >> everything that we do ought to be tied into this.
>> why can't it be tied to -- preeminence in space? [end of video clip] >> one year and one day later jack kennedy was dead. what is the difference between being preeminent in space versus landing on the moon? doug: great question. these are from the kennedy tapes and some are being uncovered at the kennedy library in boston. bobby called webb blabbermouth. his style was very aggressive. he pushed kennedy. it is kennedy, nobody else, at the key moment saying i said the moon is my space hanging. i said we are going to the moon, now you are telling me we are going to de-prioritize the moon. it could be one of many. it is not about the moon. i don't care what we find, it is
about beating russia. jack kennedy is about winning. once he dug in that we will be thee are going to beat soviets, it was warner von braun who helped him think you can leapfrog. what kennedy did not like is that if the soviets do something, we do something. this incrementalism. the moon was the leapfrog which would prove to the world that democracy, technology in a democracy was more effective than a totalitarian communist one. kennedy would go to his advisors. i write about the kennedy tapes and you hear jack kennedy pushing. you have to read between the lines. kennedy said, what if i just cancel the moon completely ? it does not mean he is
recommending that, he is just implementing that. what can i say. there is no bigger cheerleader than going to the moon than jack kennedy. even more than webb. brian: there is a new documentary out called "apollo 11." here is a little bit of the trailer from the movie. i want to ask you if it is worth going to. [video clip] ♪ >> i would like to know what you feel as far as responsibility as representing mankind on this trip? >> this is difficult to answer. it is a job we collectively said that was possible. we could do, and the nation itself is backing us. we just sincerely hope that we measure up to that.
♪ >> the apollo program was designed to get americans to the lunar surface and back again to earth safely. the enormousy of this event is something only history can judge. [end of video clip] doug: i saw it and loved it. there are no talking heads. no narration except for using news clips. it really brings it all back home again. it is a must see. if there will be programs, nothing will be apollo 11. brian: i remember you sat with president trump during his transition period at mar-a-lago in florida. i remember you telling us that he talked about space. bring that forward. doug: right after donald trump got elected president, i am cnn's presidential historian.
i got to talk to donald trump off the record. because i was writing this book, i asked him about the moon. he believed we need to go back to the moon soon. there is a debate of the mars crowd, let's get to mars, then there is a group that wants to go back to the moon and use the moon as a springboard for mars. in trump's view, there needs to be a space force, as he calls it, which would be a new branch of the military. that will not happen. or because army, navy, and air force will not go for it. they don't want to lose money. the timing would have to be right. one of the key things i did not mention was, kennedy is trying to push forward the peaceful going to space. that we are doing this for mankind in the name of peace.
the peace and militarization are entwined, but the united states does not want to say we are going to space to militarize it. brian: he made a lot of people mad, meaning john f. kennedy, when he made his speech. doug: he goes to the u.n. and toys with the idea of going to the soviet union and going to the moon. we will do it together and that will end the cold war. this creates a lot of ripples. if you are going to go with the soviet union they will learn all of our missile technology secrets. going to the moon is about the history of missiles. it is about engineers and missile technology. it is complicated. neil armstrong told me that, you know, it is this perfect chemistry of going to the moon. the technology kicked in. the soviet rivalry. the idea that we can -- that the new moonshot is going back to lunar mars. but the term moonshot stands for can do-ism.
he would say, there is a moonshot over the right-field fence. but now moonshot means american can do-ism. joe biden wants to do a moonshot for cancer. trumps a moonshot is the space force. and you can break it up down the line. people are looking to do something big and large apples the country together when we are so divided. brian: one guy that did not get to walk on the moon was michael collins. here is michael collins a little bit after talking about what it would look like command module. [video clip] >> changes character as the angle of semi-striking at surface changes. at very low sun angles close to the terminator dawn or at dusk, it has a harsh for bidding --
forbidding characteristics you see. when the sun is overhead, the midday situation, the moon takes on more of a brown color. it almost becomes a rosy looking place. a fairly friendly looking place. brian: he did not get to walk on the moon. how did they decide who did? doug: neil armstrong was a civilian. with the vietnam war going on, we wanted the first man on the moon not to be in the military. we have not talked about buzz aldrin and michael collins, but buzz collins -- buzz aldrin, i'm sorry, he is a brilliant guy. he got his phd in m.i.t. he is wired like an old test pilot and he is all about mars. brian: let's watch him. doug: he wrote the best
space memoir. brian: 30 seconds of buzz aldrin act and. [video clip] >> due to the reduced force of gravity, your foot does not come down so often. you have to anticipate and control your body movement. since your foot is not on the focus for a long period of time, each step you are not able to bear large changes in your foot application, which would it able you to slow down. we had to anticipate three or four steps ahead. instead of maybe the one or two that you do on the surface of the earth. [end of video clip] brian: michael collins is not as visible. doug: because he is not a moon walker. michael collins is an intellectual. scholars love him because he can break things down. his memoir is amazing. think about the solitude he felt watching his other two colleagues leave him and he has to go around by himself out there in the lonely solar
system. what came out of a lot of this was the picture of seeing earth floating out in this big, vast universe. out of going to the moon the environmental movement started. there are no boundaries or borders. there is a spiritual religious aspect of going to the moon for some of the astronauts. not neil armstrong. brian: when people read her book, what do you think they will walk away from that they did not think about before? doug: i think jack kennedy was a better president than i thought when i had entered this. in a sense of selling a program like apollo to the taxpayers. brian: second thing. doug: that it is a revolution of satellites. telecommunications. telstar, 1962 when kennedy was president, we are now living in
a world with space satellites and none of them existed before 1957. brian: in the front of the book it lists 14 books that you have written. it does not list the magic us, i others.agic bus and i don't think it lists the john kerry book. why are those books missing? doug: i did not want it to run too long, so i picked something that had something to do with the cold war military policy. like my walter cronkite book or the presidency. you are right, i have the reagan diaries down there. i did a little book on gerald ford. so some of them are not on that. brian: and rosa parks. but here we are, 25 years after you did the magic bus and we store your idea and put a bus on the road and it is still visiting communities. it has visited over a couple
thousand. what is your next book? doug: right now i think i will be writing "silent spring revolution." looking at kennedy, johnson, and nixon on the environmental movement, and what happened with everything from earth day in 1970, to nixon creating to epa, to clean air and water act. silent spring, william o douglas, david brower. i want to grab why environmentalism took a fierce hold between 1960 and 1974. brian: doug brinkley teaches at rice. the cnn historian and has written his latest book called "american moonshot." thank you for joining us. doug: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> all q&a programs are available on our website or as a podcast that c-span.org.
>> next sunday on q&a, usa today washington bureau chief on her biography of barbara bush, the matriarch. that is q&a next sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span. >> at a sunday afternoon meeting with president trump at the homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen submitted her resignation. following the meeting, the president tweeted this message. security of homeland kirstjen nielsen will be leaving her position, and i would like to thank her for her service. thepleased to announce at
current u.s. customs and border protection commissioner will become acting secretary for dhs. i have confidence that kevin will do a great job. took over thesen physician on december 6, 2017. we will have more on the resignation of homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen on washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. washington journal monday through friday. coming up monday, the congressional beat reporter sam brody and the white house congressional reporter discuss the week for the white house. and the government accountability office discusses an update on how well americans are doing in saving for retirement. be sure to watch "washington journal," live at 7 a.m. eastern monday morning. join the discussion.
>> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -- ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country. people who knocked these buildings down -- book, thes newest presidents, noting the best and worst chief executives, looking at the lives of the 44 american presidents, with stories from noted presidential historians. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced, and the legacies they have left behind. presidents" will be on store shelves april 23, but you can preorder your
atdcopy or e-book today c-span.org/thepresidents come or wherever books are sold. mayrime minister theresa talked about her upcoming meeting with the labor party leader jeremy corbyn and the first ministers of wales and scotland to discuss the best way forward on brexit area she also responded to questions on combating islamic phobia, workers rights, poverty, and u.k.'s rising knife crime problem. this is about one hour. questions to the prime minister. may: april marks 50 years since the launch of our longest sustained military operation. the beginning of our continuous